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9 Ways To Prevent Burnout

9 Ways To Prevent Burnout


    You would think that avoiding burnout would simply be a matter of not crossing a threshold of fatigue.

    Burnout is not that simple.

    Burnout And Creativity

    Burnout is often work-related because we are increasingly expected to be not only highly creative but also highly productive – like creativity machines.

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    Robert Fritz, author of the bestseller, The Path of Least Resistance, writes that when we are creating there are two parts to the process:

    1. Stretch: which occurs when we work and expand ourselves in the work.
    2. Consolidation: which occurs when we take a step back afterward, rest and assimilate the results of the work.

    Both parts of the process are necessary and support each other. Our fast-paced economic system keeps many of us stuck in the stretch phase of creating. If you are stretching and not consolidating, you are headed for burnout.

    What Is Burnout?

    Burnout is not just an emotional problem. Merriam-Webster  defines burnout as:

    “Exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”

    Burnout usually occurs for one of two reasons:

    1. Lack of rest or rejuvenation (overwork)
    2. Lack of motivation or reward

    Over the past 50 years rest has acquired a bad reputation. You can rest when you are dead is how the thinking goes.

    However, work and rest are two complementary sides of the same cycle and they enhance each other. We know this intuitively because we love getting a good night’s sleep after a day of positive and productive work and love going to work when we feel refreshed and on top of our game. When the cycle is working well we feel positive momentum; when not, we feel drained.

    Burnout can also occur when:

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    1. …the work we are doing work that doesn’t suit our skills or interests.
    2. …we know we are not interested in a particular job or task and force ourselves to do it too often.
    3. …our work environment is fear-based and highly political.
    4. …we have too many emergencies, both at work and at home.
    5. …we are sick or a family member is sick.

    When we are well we can withstand some turbulence in our lives. When rough spots last too long they start to debilitate us. Life is not meant to be a long emergency.

    Assessing Burnout Potential In Your Life

    To assess burnout potential in your life, evaluate each aspect of your life below on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being low in stress and burnout potential and 10 being extreme burnout potential.

    1. Consider your physical condition:
      1. You are strong and have physical reserves, you may have the ability to withstand long-term stressful situations.
      2. Your resilience is lower, you need to be careful about how much stress you tolerate and monitor yourself for physical burnout.
      3. You become fatigued easily.
      4. You are sick or get sick easily.
    2. Consider your work situation:
      1. Are you valued?
      2. Are you doing work you love?
      3. Do you have the skills you need to succeed?
      4. Do you work with people who are good for you?
      5. Is the organization well managed?
      6. Do you have to overwork too much?
      7. Are you compensated well? Are your benefits good?
    3. Consider your relationships:
      1. Start with your family. Is it a warm, loving and supportive family or are you generally frustrated by the unhappiness in your family?
      2. Do you have close supportive friends?
      3. Do you have a community you are a part of?
      4. Are you happy with your social life?
      5. Are your work relationships good?
    4. Consider the time of year:
      1. Are there certain times when you are more overloaded than others and at risk of burnout?
      2. Are there times when the people around you are overloaded and your responsibilities increase as a result?
    5. Consider the totality of your life:
      1. Do you have burnout in some or two area spilling over into others?
      2. Do you see the potential for burnout to develop in an area in the future?
      3. When you look at your burnout assessment how does it look to you? piece of cake? manageable? serious burnout potential?

    There are no right answers and no score to determine your burnout potential. Your assessment is a map of your current situation so that you can easily get a high level view of your current situation.

    With your assessment in hand, it might be useful to consider whether your burnout challenges are people challenges, time management challenges, or a need to develop skills. Sometimes we lack a skill set that could make our life easier, save time and reduce stress.

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    Steps To Prevent Burnout

    There are many things you can do to prevent burnout:

    1. Strengthen your body first. Improve your energy by getting a great night’s sleep, exercising, keeping hydrated and eating well. Detox your body since toxins can build up causing debility over time.
    2. Learn to meditate to relieve stress and help you with emotional balance. It works wonders.
    3. Make a list of all the areas you want to work on and set priorities for them.
    4. Research on the Internet about the issues you want to take on. Do not be afraid to tackle large issues like career choices and family problems.
    5. Do not be afraid to cut back on commitments that are too draining.  Your other commitments will benefit from your improved attention.
    6. Upgrade your skills to keep yourself marketable and functioning well.
    7. For the tasks you hate, you have several options: drop them if they are really unimportant, break them up into small bite size work units so that you only have to so it for a short time, delegate them, or trade your undesired task with someone else’s undesired task.
    8. Determine what is most important to you so that you increase your time spent on your high value activities and therefore increase your satisfaction.
    9. Treat burnout as a life-time concern that you can eliminate but taking good care of your life.

    Everyone’s life matters and everyone deserves to enjoy their life.  Accept the reality of change and plan to be resilient but also make sure you can say no.  You do not have to carry the world on your shoulders.

    When you are proactive, flexible, mindful about commitments and take excellent care of yourself you are doing what is necessary to beat burnout.  Good luck!

    (Photo credit: Burnt Match Between New Matchsticks via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2018

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

    It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

    If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

    One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

    Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

    In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

    Why you can’t sleep through the night

    The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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    Stress

    If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

    Exposure to blue light before sleep time

    We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

    While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

    Eating close to bedtime

    Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

    Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

    Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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    Medical conditions

    In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

    The vicious sleep cycle

    The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

    Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

    You get a bad night’s sleep
    –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
    –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
    –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

      You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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      How to sleep better (throughout the night)

      To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

      1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

      What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

      Here are a few suggestions:

      • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
      • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
      • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
      • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
      • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

      2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

      What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

      • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
      • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
      • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
      • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

      3. Adjust your sleep temperature

      Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

      Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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      Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

      Sleep better form now on

      Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

      I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

      As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

      Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

      Reference

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